Given the pending presidential election in 2 months, the news released yesterday about improving wages and general economic growth in the U. S. (still slow but steady) is providing Democrats something to tout, while Republican’s initial response is somewhat muted. The Washington Post which frequently considers the political implications of such news posted the attached article on the 2015 census data. The Washington Post included quotes from Jason Furman, chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, the House Ways, and Means Committee Chairman, Kevin Brady (R-Tex.)
The Wall Street Journal reported the data in a similar format. The primary difference between the two articles was The Wall Street Journal provided just the facts. Readers can conclude any positives in the economy or social welfare of US citizens will thus be heavily used by both parties in general speeches and during the presidential debates.
A significant caveat to the substantial gains is the wage increases applied primarily to those living in urban areas, while rural wages have remained flat. This further illustrates the basis for the political division in the country. Most rural states lean and vote Republican, while the more urbanized states side with the Democrats.
Middle class incomes had their fastest growth on record last year by Jim Tankersley
Ashley has been researching the best resource for estimating long-term care (LTC) services and has found a great website. Genworth, the company that compiles the data, is the leading LTC insurer in the United States. The link below shows the costs for home health care, adult day care, assisted living, & nursing home care for all states & the major regional areas within each state. Most of our clients have opted to self-insure rather than purchase a LTC policy, but it's always helpful to have a comparison & know the cost of services.
Genworth - Cost of Care Calculator
One of our Berkeley, Inc. clients is a member of the City Club of Boise. At a time when it seems that civil discourse is under siege the City Club is promoting the "The Civility Project." This program is summarized in the article below.
The Civility Project
How China's Trade Concessions Made It Stronger
The Wall Street Journal has provided a basic explanation on why it appears that the trade deal with China 15 years ago created unintended consequences. The beauty of this article is its concise explanation. As frequently happens in trade deals, the various political players and parties had a noble idea and executed it in good faith, but it still didn't benefit the U.S. as much as anticipated. The lesson from this report is that in the real world of economics, as well as political and human behavior, outcomes are desired, but often not foreseen. Yes, it's always tough to predict the future.
The Economist, based in England, provides a European and British view of economic trends and data. We want to use this article to provide you with a better understanding of two economic concept and their assumptions as they pertain to the current presidential election. You will see many references to this type of analysis in the media when comparing the varying economic policies of the two political parties and their presidential nominees. Read the article and then read our explanation below.
How Clinton and Trump plan to boost wages
There are two primary economic topics in this short article: international trade and wages.
Let's begin with international trade. The Economist is assuming that, if employee productivity increases significantly then it will eventually lead to higher wages. The author is also assuming that freer trade will eventually lead to better prices for consumers. The free trade argument is based on "comparative advantage." This concept is a primary pillar of modern economic thought and philosophy. If a developed nation moves its lower skilled products and services to less economically developed nations, then it allows the developed nation to produce higher valued goods and services. For example, if the U.S. moves the production of pencils to Mexico then the U.S. can sell more information technology to Mexico. The cost of pencils in the U.S. will decline while the wages of U.S. workers will increase so they can buy more pencils. In other words, it's not a zero sum game where wage and economic gains by one country are equally offset by losses of the other country. It's assumed that both countries will gain. Mexico will employ more lowered wages/skilled workers and the U.S. will train and hire higher paid employees in technology. This concept requires both countries to continually educate and train its workforce(s) which will lead each country to higher standards of living.
Wages are a little simpler. Both candidates propose increasing the minimum wage (many Republicans would argue that any minimum wage is economically unhealthy); they only differ in how much to raise it. Clinton proposes a $12/hr rate and Trump (as of last month) supports $10/hr. The current national minimum wage is $7.25 but some states like Washington, California and Oregon have already significantly raised the state's minimum. Companies that use minimum wage workers contend that they'll simply raise the cost of good and services to account for their higher employee costs. Both presidential nominees contend that a wider base of higher compensated employees will result in the employees having more disposable income and they will then buy more goods and services. Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company set wages for his employees high enough that they could buy the products they built. While this concept may be simple, determining the optimal level for the minimum wage is often disputed.
Donald Trump named his economic team today which should provide more examples of the varying programs and proposals from each candidate.
Occasionally we like to post articles that give you some insight into how we form our opinions or stay informed.